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Who is the Adult Industry?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 Text size: 

We see references to the “Adult Industry” and “Sex Industry” thrown around all the time in both adult and mainstream articles, but there never seems to be a clear definition of what companies comprise our industry. 

The FSC is the trade organization for the “Adult Entertainment Industry,” which according to their website consists “of a broad range of adult business from producers and webmasters to manufacturers, retailers and many, many more.” I think that is the clearest written definition of our industry, but even that description seems overly broad.

Through the years, I’ve never really seen our industry move to more clearly define ourselves; rather, we are always struggling to distinguish ourselves as who we are not.  Maybe through an analysis of whom we have said we are not through the years we can figure out who we really are?

  • When Morality in Media takes their stab at the adult industry claiming that all pornography is illegal and obscene, we take the clear stance that our productions are legal, covered by the First Amendment, and not obscene.
  • When anti-porn activists make the false claim that the largest consumer demographic for internet pornography is children, we clearly take the position that our content is intended only for and primarily consumed by adults and mature audiences. 
  • When anti-sex industry ” press lumps “sex trafficking” into industry statistics, we clearly affirm that true adult business have employees and contractors who all willingly and knowingly choose to participate in the industry and equate our structure to that of mainstream photography.
  • When one of our own is fired from their mainstream job or told that they cannot work around children, we come to their defense and make the obvious logical connection that our work is not any different than what most adult men and women do routinely.
  • And, finally, when the purveyors of misinformation like to slip child pornography statistics in with the adult industry, we take the clear stance that we are an industry who feature products made for adults by adults.

When you put this all together, we would define the “Adult Industry” as businesses that provide legal content protected by the First Amendment, for voluntary adult consumption, that features only performers over the age of 18 who are willingly choosing to participate in adult fantasy depictions or services.   That definition seems pretty solid and to accept anything outside of that criteria would seem somewhat dubious to me.   Any business that is unsure of its ability to meet this definition would not be classified as a member of the “Adult Industry,” in my opinion. 

  • Businesses that specifically target underage consumers or force exposure to their content through unwanted advertising such as unsolicited emails or malware or adware would not meet our definition.
  • Businesses that force or falsely trick people into performing sex acts would definitely not meet our definition, and definitely would much more appropriately be defined as a criminal enterprise.
  • Businesses that do not verify the age of individuals who are engaging in sexual conduct, or are unable to meet the spirit of age verification requirements through responsible actions in order to ensure that all performers are truly adults, also would not meet our definition.

I can think of the many businesses that easily meet our definition of “Adult Industry” many of them are the industry’s mature businesses and brands who have probably had much experience on how responsibility pays off.  On the other hand, I can think of several companies that consistently do not meet this definition, yet they are often associated with the industry by both consumers and adult businesses.  I just have to wonder; do we really want to stray from our own definition at all? Doesn’t this definition provide us with more stable opportunity and minimize our governmental fears? And will corporate responsibility (the act of self regulating in active compliance with the spirit of the law, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere, regardless of their legality) grow stronger, or weaker, in the “Adult Industry?” 

In my opinion, there is only one answer to that last question which will permit the industry to grow and thrive, and it isn’t the latter one.

Pink Visual President and CEO Allison Vivas' primary role is to ensure that the company's direction matches the vision of being a strong, tech-forward and responsible adult entertainment company. Vivas' pride in her company and the adult entertainment industry drive her ongoing effort to dispel negative stereotypes and myths associated with the industry.
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Ask Your Pornographer First

Friday, June 17, 2011 Text size: 

Ironically, as the adult industry works quietly in a responsible manner (checking hundreds of 2257 documents a day, ensuring performer testing still goes on, and labeling our sites properly to ensure no one accidentally runs into explicit content), the mainstream continues to demonstrate how irresponsible they can be. 

This ironic situation inspired Pink Visual’s Quentin Boyer to write this satirical commentary which made me laugh, so I wanted to share.

Publc Figures: Leave Porn to the Pornographers, Please!

Whether you’re a Congressman who hasn’t quite mastered the not-so-nuanced art of tweeting, a football player overly impressed with his pecker, or merely a has-been celebrity looking for a quick return to the spotlight, Pink Visual has a message for you: stop horning in on our territory, dammit!

Look, us pornographers have a hard enough time selling our wanton wares these days, with piracy of adult content being rampant, putative members of our own industry happily giving away full-length videos and every college student with a smartphone snapping shots of his/her privates to share freely with potential customers of ours; the last thing we need is for the “cultural elite” to be out there on the web competing with us, too.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure there were lots of people who were simply dying to see Weiner’s wiener, and itching to get glimpse of Brett’s boner, and I know that public servants, entertainers and professional athletes are all about ‘giving the people what they want,’ but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about satisfying the public’s desire for the exposure of famous flesh.

Here’s a hint: if you are accidentally giving it away, you’re doing it wrong.

We get it guys; you are proud of your packages and want to share them with the world (or with a few women who aren’t your wife, at least), but for the love of God, show the modicum of dignity and common sense that Montana Fishburne displayed, and sign a contract with a porn studio before you go about exposing yourself to the world.

(Side note: is “Montana Fishburne” the single worst porn name in history, or what? If that’s not a euphemism for Chlamydia, I don’t know what is. But I digress….)

Haven’t the Favres and Weiners of the world learned anything from porn tube sites? If your business model involves giving away porn, the right way to go about it is to give away other people’s porn, while still attempting to sell your own dirty flicks. (Duh!)

Plus, everybody knows if you want to make any sort of real splash in porn these days, it has to be done in the context of a parody of some major mainstream movie or TV show. Sending out self-shot penis pics might be good enough for the bush league porn that comes out of Washington D.C., but if you want to become a real player in the porn biz, you have to think ‘porn parody.’ In Weiner’s case, he wouldn’t have had to wait long for a good opportunity to present itself, either; “The Green Lantern” comes out today — just think of how sweet it would be for Tony to have made his porn debut in a parody of a big budget superhero movie!



Green Weiner

So, for all you actors, musicians, athletes, political hacks and other misfits of renown who just can’t resist the urge to give self-made porn a shot… well, if possible, please find a way to resist that urge. If you really can’t help yourself, though, and you have a deep, abiding need to share your naughty bits with the world, for Pete’s sake throw us pornographers a bone (so to speak) and work with us, rather than against us!

Seriously guys, it’s not like Steve Hirsch is a hard man to get in touch with if you’re already famous (for that matter, merely mention your interest in porn during an interview and he’ll find you, trust us on that), and here at Pink Visual we’re always down for trying new things. Heck, we actually specialize in using technology (properly) to allow people to enjoy porn to the fullest extent possible, so Pink Visual would be a natural place to turn for help with your digital dickstribution needs!

What’s the bottom line for all you famous, phallus-flaunting fellows? If you really can’t keep it in your pants, don’t try to DIY your XXX: be responsible about it, and ask your pornographer if smutting it up online is right for you, before you begin any pornographic regimen.

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Identifying Your Strengths in Today’s Marketplace

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 Text size: 

I’m sure I don’t need to explain to anyone in the online sector of the adult entertainment industry the complexities and rapid changes inherent to today’s market.  In recent weeks, we’ve seen major acquisitions take place, more lawsuits announced, an obscenity indictment in Florida, concern over Pornwikileaks’ assault on performer privacy,  and of course, the continuing consumer exposure to large amounts of free porn, with or without the permission of the rights-holder of that content.

In light of all the turmoil, several people (including a few within our company) have asked me how I feel about Pink Visual’s place in the market, and our prospects for the future. 

These conversations remind of similar discussions I had about four years ago when the industry was also changing very quickly as we saw more tube sites popping up, conversions worsening, and companies turning to billing scams to recoup diminishing revenue.  Four years later, the same questions, “What are you guys doing?” and “Isn’t this so unfair?” and the same feelings, “I hate XYZ Company” are surfacing all over again.

I have to say this time around it’s much different for us at Pink Visual.  We really have no particularly strong emotions around anything or anyone else, other than our own products and our own company, and we have full confidence in our strengths.

These strengths are simple, and for the most part have been strengths of ours for years -- without us even realizing we had them. By identifying them more clearly, though, these strengths have helped us realize our shared vision for the company, and helped us through rocky times, as well. I’m choosing to share some of our strengths and how we view things, not as a means of boasting about Pink Visual’s success, but in the hope that other companies may look at themselves more positively and start to identify some of their own strengths to focus on. 

So, in no particular order, here are a few of Pink Visual’s strengths that I immediately think of in weighing all of our decisions and the opportunities that come our way:

1)   We’re a responsible adult company.   Among other things, this is a trait that we have built upon through maintaining a positive business relationship with our customers and our peers in the adult industry, and by ensuring through diligent 2257 record-keeping that our products are made by adults for adults.  We do these things despite knowing that some other adult companies scam consumers to bolster their bottom line, and some other companies distribute content without keeping 2257 records, facts that some may argue gives those companies a competitive advantage over more responsible studios. In our view, however, any advantage gained through irresponsible corporate conduct is shortsighted, and often short-lived, as well.  Pink Visual prefers to build its foundation on legally sound practices, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because responsible behavior mitigates risk and liability, and gives us confidence in our future.  Being acknowledged for showing responsibility also opens up publicity opportunities and greater prospect for doing business with ‘mainstream’ companies, as well.

2)   We’re a small company.  For Pink Visual, a 50-60 employee operation is the perfect size. At our peak size, we grew to over 100 employees and it simply didn’t work.  As a smaller unit we are more responsive to change and we can identify issues more quickly.  We also raise the bar for performance expectations by reducing the amount of management required and increasing the amount of decision-making and know-how required for each of our roles.

3)   Our people create our passion.  What we do here at Pink Visual really reflects the ideas and passions of most of our employees at the company.  Everyone contributes; it’s not the ideas of solely one person that make our operation successful and because of that, it’s difficult to replicate.

4)   We are aggressive legally.  One of the best decisions we’ve made in the past few years was the hiring of in house attorneys and the use of the right outside counsel.  Whatever we’re trying to accomplish in the marketplace our attorneys help us achieve those goals.  From securing deals to combating content piracy, our legal team makes sure that we not only defend our legal rights as a company, but that we can effectively go on the offensive when appropriate.

5)   We’ve been through all of this before.  Pink Visual has survived and even flourished during some of the rockiest times the adult industry has faced over the years, and the rough times are where we learned the most.  From eliminating wasteful spending, to investing intelligently and choosing to lead instead of follow, many of our best realizations have been driven by necessity.  So, when a new obstacle pops up, or things start getting a little trickier, these days we immediately move to how we can intelligently navigate the surging sea of challenges, instead of copying others or denying that there is stormy weather ahead.

Four years ago, when as a company we may have been a little “lost at sea,” we looked around at what everyone else was doing, even though just about every other company was also lost , or, in some cases,  were the ones causing the waves in the first place.  Dwelling on what others were doing simply proved unproductive for Pink Visual.  What finally worked for us, and what continues to work for us, is to identify our core strengths as a company, and then look for ways to apply our company’s best assets to master the challenges the market puts in front of us. Doing so has given us great confidence that as changes come to the market – even unprecedented changes – we’ll be able to weather the storm and emerge stronger than ever.

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Porn Companies have Employees to Review too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 Text size: 

Folks outside the adult industry are often intrigued to learn about the day-to-day life of someone who runs a porn company,  and nearly as often, they are most surprised to hear that we deal with all the same issues any mainstream company has, from employment law and workplace safety concerns to raises, layoffs and terminations.

Given that most of us at Pink Visual didn’t come from a corporate background, there was definitely a learning curve when it came to some of the basics, like how to handle employee performance and salary reviews.  I recall a team meeting maybe seven or eight years ago when someone asked what the average annual salary increase was for most corporations, and someone threw out the number 10%, and that ended up being the number we used as a baseline for a couple of years. Some employees found it unfair, while others were happy with that baseline, but one thing is for sure: relying on that number in the absence of other criteria contributed to a culture of entitlement that took root during that time. Employees came to see their annual raise as something to be expected, and not tied to their job performance, at all.

Once that culture of entitlement had been established, it took a couple years -- and several revisions to our policies -- in order to eradicate that culture and to establish a more results and performance-based criteria for our annual reviews. One of those changes was to move towards an “Employee Performance Matrix” for salary reviews. Google that term and you can learn more about its application in the general corporate world, but I’ll provide more information about how Pink Visual uses it here.

First, we had to set defined salary ranges for each position we have in the company.  This can be hard, since being an online adult company creates some unique positions, but it’s possible to accomplish and worth the effort.  We typically averaged out three to four different sources of salary-range information and include what the going rate is for that position in the industry (which we determined in part by asking around among other companies in the industry), we considered what other types of local jobs would this employee qualify for and what do those jobs pay, and in some cases we looked at trade-specific data, which was particularly useful with respect to design and IT positions.  The average we established helped us create a range that was fair, considering that we are mostly competing locally and secondarily competing within the industry for employees.

The next step was to adjust these salary ranges to be competitive and fair based on the value of the position to the company.  The best example of this is to compare a job that might take three months at the company to learn versus a job that might take two years at the company to become fully trained on.  In the first example, the range was adjusted so it was not as wide as the range for second example, with a low and high end that hovered right around the average we had calculated. The thought process with this was that the position could be replaced relatively quickly, so there was no need to pay well above the calculated average.  In the second example, for a position that takes years to learn we stuck with a wider range, because at first the employee may not be as valuable to the company as they will later become, so it’s okay to be below average during that time. As the years go by, that employee’s/position’s value increases and it’s increasingly important to for the company to retain them, which it does in part by paying that person above the average.  When we established this system for coming up with the salary ranges, we also decided to review our ranges every two years to ensure they don’t become outdated.

The next part was to create a matrix that outlined where the employee was within their range from the lowest quartile in pay up to the highest quartile in pay, and to cross-reference that with their rating for performance.  We use a 1 to 4 scale where 2 is a solid but average employee.   This then gets filled in with percentages of salary increases where the best performing employees who fall into the lowest quartile of pay get the highest percent increases and the highest paid employees with the worst performance get the lowest percent increases.

So the matrix might look something like this:

 

Salary Quartile 1

Salary Quartile 2

Salary Quartile 3

Salary Quartile 4

Performance 4

10%

9%

8%

7%

Performance 3

6%

5.5%

5%

4.5%

Performance 2

4%

3.5%

3%

2.5%

Performance 1

2%

1%

1%

0%

Please note this is a sample of a non-aggressive matrix.  More aggressive matrixes would look more like this and encourages a competitive workplace with significant turnover at average performance levels.

 

Salary Quartile 1

Salary Quartile 2

Salary Quartile 3

Salary Quartile 4

Performance 4

20%

18%

16%

14%

Performance 3

12%

10%

8%

6%

Performance 2

4%

2%

0%

0%

Performance 1

0%

0%

0%

0%

At our company, we decided to discuss and review all of our employees as a leadership group in order to ensure we all used the same criteria for rating performance.  This assures that the “easy going” managers don’t give 4’s to members of their staff for doing an average job while the “tough” managers give their staff members 2’s. Assuming you have a staff that is mostly hard working and high performance, what you should end up with is a fairly even distribution across the 2-4 ratings range, with just a handful of 1’s (up to around 10%).

When it was all said and done, this method ended up being better received by our staff, because it utilized the same logic for everyone and ensured that everyone’s salary/raise was related to their actual job performance, rather than an arbitrary increase that was the same for high achievers as it was for slackers. 

From an efficiency point of view, performance matrix cuts down on the debates and discussions in comparison to those surrounding arbitrary raises, and it allows the reviews to be done faster.  On the financial side, it allows decision-makers to anticipate increases in salaries for the year and create a budget that accommodates such.  It can also be changed from non-aggressive to aggressive, or vice versa, to match your own company’s corporate culture.

Performance reviews used to be a time of high anxiety and angst-ridden debate for us, but with our performance matrix in place, it’s much smoother sailing here at Pink Visual where performance reviews are concerned. If you find yourself frustrated with your own company’s review process, or feel that you’ve lost control of that aspect of your business, I highly recommend giving this approach a shot to restore some sanity in your conference room when review time rolls around again.

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No Stress Leadership

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 Text size: 

April is review month for most of the employees here at our company and it has allowed me to reflect on how so many of our team members have grown over the last year, and how I have grown, as well.  Specifically, it made me think of how we all dealt with stress in years past as opposed to the way we deal with it now.  Ten years ago as a marketing assistant for TopBucks, I remember how stressed out I felt and how that manifested in knots in my upper and lower back.  I’d go and get massages to help relieve the stress and the knots in my muscles and the massage therapists would always comment on how I must have a super stressful job. 

Now, as President of Pink Visual, I’ve gone at least a good three years without the sensation of stress and without the knots in my back.  I’m sure some would joke that it must be because I’m stressing out other people in my position instead of myself, but I know that’s not true and I’m 100% sure it’s due to the leadership training we received as a company, five years ago.

For any business that is growing in personnel and/or frustrations, I highly recommend taking the time to get leadership training.  For those of you who have already done the math, yes we had training here five years ago and my stress stopped about three years ago, so I’m sure you’re wondering ‘why did it take two years to see results?‘ Well, the answer is that it really takes two years to evolve any corporate culture, and although leadership training really focuses around some basic understandings, it takes a while to put those understandings into practice.

These basic understandings are things like differentiating between what I as an individual or us as a company have control over versus what we have influence over.  It’s amazing how much the idea of thinking that we can control other people or other companies can be stressful.  On the other hand, it’s amazing how understanding that there are things we can do to influence others without being able to control them can be freeing.

Another basic guideline from our leadership training was to self-evaluate when we run into issues with our team.  The training emphasized the importance of asking ourselves questions like “what it is that we want, what are we doing to get what we want, is what we’re doing working, what else can we do, and what else will we do? “ This has been the perfect solution to those repetitive problems where I, or our other leaders at Pink Visual, may have answered something like “Well, I keep telling him what to do and he’s not doing it.”  We’ve learned the obvious; namely, that “telling him what to do” is not working…. so why do we keep doing it?

The final thing I’ll share that I believe has influenced me to become a No Stress Leader, has been to identify that our role is to lead and develop other leaders, not to develop managers and people to manage the work of others.  So we’ve focused a lot around leading others to make the right decisions and leading others to engage with the company and leading others to know when to ask and know when they are making the right decisions.  This has freed up so much time from having to control the work of others and allowed for more creativity in our workplace.

It gives me a great sense of pride to recognize how much our team members (and me, too) have developed in terms of our leadership and our approach to conflict resolution. Now, I must admit, while these same principles can be applied in personal life, and I have tried to do so, the principles of leadership training are much harder to apply where toddlers are concerned…. :)

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I Heart Dot COM

Thursday, March 24, 2011 Text size: 

Dear .COM,

As you might have heard, there has been quite a bit of drama lately around domain extensions. In the process of muddling through the mess, I’ve come to realize something: I absolutely love and adore you, .COM. 

How do I love thee, .COM? Let me count the ways!

1)      You are the default in every browser if I do not type in an extension.

2)      You come built in on all the newest mobile device keyboards.

3)      ALL consumers already know about you, .COM

4)      You were there from the beginning and have been loyal and effective.

5)      I can get you from all the registries and you are always reasonably priced.

6)      You don’t have any crazy policies outside the existing laws that I already have to abide by and you allow us to incorporate good practices on our own. Heck, our .COM sites are pop up free, malware free, CP (we prefer to call this Child Rape) free, billing scam free, SPAM free, and true to our advertising… and they’ve been that way for years.

7)      If I have a dispute, I remain protected by Trademark law and can go through WIPO to fight for you.

8)      If anyone doesn’t own a particular variant of you, .COM, they usually own an alternate extension that makes them look oddly cheap and unprofessional.

9)      Google says it doesn’t care about extensions, but there’s much evidence to show that Google loves you, too, and loves you more than any other extension.  

 

Because I love you .COM, we will continue to invest in developing our products on you. It just makes good business sense. 

Do other TLDs get a little bit of love, too? I’m sure they do, yes.  The creativity they can be used for is good, like About.Me (who also owns aboutme.com, btw) and del.icio.us (who also owns delicious.com).  The geo-location or language based extensions make sense for some like google.co.uk vs. google.com to appreciate the customization for language or demographic, but this is also often achieved with sub domains. 

DotMobi?  Nah, seems like the sub domain has ruled that space with m dot. 

Dot Gov, okay, as a US citizen it’s good to know that the poorly designed site I’m at is truly a US government site. 

Dot EDU, ok, yes you make it a lot easier to type in a school name instead of having to type out the whole University of whatever, because those schools can’t trademark their acronyms for the most part (asu.com vs. asu.edu), but I would still trust my beloved Dot COM.

Dot ORG?  Nah, it also failed by not making itself distinct or defining itself beyond what individual organizations define themselves as.

Dot Travel? Well, easy enough to identify as a ‘no,’ as well, and how difficult it was for the policies of .TRAVEL to meet the needs of the whole community

.COM, one of the things that I love most about you is that you represent an established brand element that is unrivaled to this day in its power to say “this brand has a real Internet presence.” You have branding panache all your own, in fact, and you have allowed companies to create amazing brand names from words that would otherwise look like typos or nonsense, like flickr.com and twitter.com.

.COM I love you because you make businesses online operate like they would need to in the real world and think about brands and trademarks and maybe even think twice about investing in generic words that aren’t particularly ‘brand-able.’

Yes, .COM I love you…. but I hope you won’t get too jealous later, when I write other love letters to those who help make and support trademark laws.

 

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Porn World Vs. The Real World

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 Text size: 
Now that I’m on Twitter @ PV_Alli, I got hit up by the author of “Make Love Not Porn” (Cindy Gallop) letting me know that Pink Visual got a mention in the E-Book that was released at TED 2009.

I have to admit that, given the title, I was a little hesitant to read it, thinking that it would just be another book by a critic of porn bashing the adult industry. But hey – don’t judge a book by its cover right?

As it turns out, I really enjoyed this book. It isn’t the anti-porn invective I feared that it might be; it is just written to encourage a healthy sex life and the sort of open communication that supports a healthy sex life. The book doesn’t bash porn at all, rather it makes a lot of valid points stating that what is depicted in porn is about fantasy and entertainment, and not necessarily something you imitate in order to be a “good lover.” At only $2.99 on Amazon Kindle E-books, “Make Love Not Porn” is a solid read that won’t break the bank; I recommend that anybody interested in hearing some reasonable points made about porn by someone outside the industry pick up a copy.

What’s funny to me, though, are the people who judge our industry based on the belief that everything about porn is just about fulfilling a sexual release and influencing men to behave in the same way they see men behaving in our movies. This is such an obvious falsehood, I almost don’t know where to start in responding to it. When we compare porn to the products created by our mainstream counterparts who produce horror flicks, dramas, fantasies, and “unreal” reality shows, do we argue that viewers are going to run out and parrot the behavior they see in those productions? Sure, there will always be a few extremists who walk away from “The Lord of the Rings” with the desire to dress up and play out their fantasy roles, but rarely are there instances with any significant portion of viewers allowing the movie to influence their day to day living and interactions with other human beings.

It’s the same deal with horror films, but maybe for the ladies reading this a better analogy might be our beloved soap operas. I know I love a good “General Hospital”, but I can clearly distinguish that what is depicted every day on TV is fantasy and that it doesn’t mix with the reality I live in. I can get sucked into a soap opera, but it doesn’t have any significant influence on my life where I would run around hopping from man to man or desiring to steal a baby. (I’ve also never fallen into a coma after having my mind taken over by a satellite operated by my ex-husband’s father’s ex-lover, but I digress….)

Adult entertainment videos are just like mainstream entertainment productions in that way; porn movies provide entertainment, fantasy, stimulation, etc. What is unique to our industry is that we also provide a release for our viewers, and sometimes when it comes to the more interactive forms of entertainment, we provide a personal connection or even affection when it’s desired.

Beyond the critics of porn who assert that it is a big case of “monkey see, monkey do,” there are those who talk about porn addictions and divorces that result from them. True addiction can exist with just about anything, but I have to also assume that some wives may think if they husband watches adult content for 3 hours in a week, that that is an addiction. I don’t think so, and if you compare it to the same 3 to 5 hours the wife is spending enjoying fulfilling her entertainment needs with soap operas and Real Housewives and the like, where is the outrage about “reality TV addiction?” You don’t hear that sort of outcry because it’s clear that those products are all purely entertainment, and whatever value they have lays in the fantasies and diversion they offer.

Just like the fact that most wives aren’t going to bitch out all their girlfriends constantly, or spend $35,000 on a 4-year-old’s birthday party, most husbands aren’t going to be forcing their wives into sexual positions they don’t want to be in, and most aren’t going to be running off to have an affair due to the influence of porn – they’re going to do it because they are just pigs like that. (Just kidding boys!)

Yes, media does influence people, and even fantasy entertainment can influence young minds, which is why both adult and mature ‘mainstream’ entertainment is supposed to steer clear of targeting minors as a viewing audience. The remaining forms of media that have a major influence on us adults tend to be those who have a primary purpose of inspiring, informing, or teaching a lesson. As such, media’s influence need not be negative, even though for a lot of critics, the negative is what they focus on. Who knows, maybe it was the movie “Life is Beautiful” or “Schindler’s List” that influenced some people to be more tolerant and treat to everyone around them like a person, or maybe it was “The Secret” that inspired someone to change the way they thought about life.

For the most part, adult entertainment is limited to its entertainment and fantasy value. We might inspire some men and women to openly communicate about their fantasies to their partners, but our industry is probably not going to produce a movie any time soon that winds up being among the Top 100 Most Inspiring Films. You know what though? That’s perfectly okay for the industry and for everyone else, because providing an exploration of fantasies and offering our fans entertainment value is the only justification we need.

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Adult Industry Critics & Myths

Friday, March 04, 2011 Text size: 
In one of my previous blog posts, I suggested that those who focus their efforts around casting the adult industry in a negative light need to instead put their efforts towards real issues and problems in society today. I stand by that post, but with the recent false accusations made by Morality in Media about our industry, I was reminded that the adult industry needs to play an active role in dispelling the misconceptions spread by such critics as much as possible.

There are a number of respected voices from within the industry who do get out there and speak positively about the adult industry, and who try to counter the myths, misconceptions and outright lies that get spread around by our industry’s harshest critics. A few recent great examples:

John Stagliano - Response to “Pornography Harms”

Anna Span, Johnny Anlais, Jessi Fischer - Winning the porn debate at Cambridge

Mark Kernes – Morality in Media’s Latest Lies on Porn and Sex Trafficking

Joan Irvine- They’re Back, But they Never Went Away

Ron Jeremy- Representing the industry in Porn Debate at church

When it comes to this sort of ‘push-back’ against the unfair and untrue claims leveled at our industry, it’s a case of the “more the merrier;” the more each of us individually speaks out, whether casually or in an official capacity while representing our respective companies, the better it is for our industry as a whole. When we don’t, and the claims made by our critics go unchallenged, the impact of their false claims might not be immediately obvious, but it is there.

Just this week, two non-adult business acquaintances of mine inquired about some things they had read (and must have believed, at least to some extent) about our industry, including Morality in Media’s statement that 90% of sex workers are have been forced into sex work against their will.

In response to their questions, I told these acquaintances the real (and real mundane) details of how adult content production takes place, from dealing with modeling agencies, to AIM testing, model releases, 2257 documentation, legal review by our attorneys, and so on. I emphasized that adult production companies are law-abiding entities, who not only adhere to industry-specific regulations like 2257, but also comply with all the same requirements that any other manner of business must follow, like paying taxes, abiding by employment laws, and other general business regulations. The criminals who engage in things like human trafficking, on the other hand, generally do not do things like set up corporate entities, rent out office space, maintain large staffs, provide benefits to employees, or store things like model releases and identification documents.

The bottom line? The people who engage in the sort of activities described by Morality in Media are just criminals, not part of ANY legitimate industry, much less part of the adult entertainment industry.

I also pointed out to my mainstream acquaintances just how absurd it would be for an adult company to engage in horrible behavior along the lines of that alleged by Morality in Media, and then subsequently seek publicity through mass advertising and media exposure not only of the company, but also of the performers who that company has supposedly forced into indentured servitude. That would be like if the executives at Enron had held a press conference in the late 90s for the express purpose of bragging about their amazing accounting skills!

I find that simple statements and analogies like this can quickly put atrocious accusations to rest, just as quickly and easily as those accusations came to be believed.

All of us involved with producing adult content know that most studios and producers handle the process professionally, and the actual goal of our effort is fulfill our customers’ perfectly natural desire to enjoy adult entertainment. We know that our industry isn’t about human trafficking, or prostitution, or any number of illicit activities that some of our critics allege – but those outside the industry, including the mainstream media and consumers, don’t have the benefit of our “insider perspective,” so it’s important that we get out there and actively counter the false accusations that are directed at us.

In 2011, I’ve resolved to speak out more openly and more frequently against the myths, rumors and stereotypes that cast our industry in a negative light, and I appreciate the great example others have set. I hope many more in our industry will join in the campaign… the more the merrier.

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Keynote Continued

Monday, February 21, 2011 Text size: 
At XBIZ L.A. I had the honor of serving as the Keynote speaker for the event. The intent of my presentation was to provide some behind the scenes information about me and my company, and to relate our journey to that of the adult online industry as a whole. (For those really looking to kill 30 minutes, you can see the video at http://vimeo.com/19977391 )

The speech’s central theme sprung from my belief that the industry needs for more and more of its companies and brands to move towards better consumer practices, and how as an industry we need to distinguish ourselves from the poor business practices consumers have been exposed to over the years. Moving away from a ‘slash and burn mentality’ is a crucial step toward creating a sustainable adult market going forward. The bad practices I’m referring to are things like spamming, pop ups, hidden charges, bad customer service, false advertising, and distribution (intentional and otherwise) of viruses, Trojans and other forms of malware.

As I conceded in my keynote, Pink Visual been a ‘perfect company’ throughout our history, and we made definitely some mistakes along the way – but we have improved the consumer experience for our customers in many ways, and we always steered clear of the worst of those bad practices, to begin with. I also believe that the more companies who work to improve the consumer experience and the more that stay away from supporting companies who do treat the consumer poorly, the faster consumer confidence and the general public’s perception of our industry will improve, as well.

On that note, I’d like to share some simple tools for anyone who shares my line of thinking:

Consumer complaint sites to review where you send your traffic or who you might do business with:

http://www.complaintsboard.com/

http://www.ripoffreport.com

An in-depth review of who you may link off to or what consumers may think of your sites http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/

Information on FTC guidelines for advertisers and affiliates:

http://www.squidoo.com/FTC-new-rules

(I think this is an indication of how the FTC is focusing not only on how companies promote their products, but how their advertisers and affiliates promote them, too.)

That’s it for now. Again, I know we’re not all perfect, but I do know a lot of people share my desire for the industry to improve the way it is perceived by consumers, regulators, legislators and the general public, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on how we can achieve that goal.

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Proud of the Adult Industry

Monday, February 14, 2011 Text size: 
The adult industry is in many ways an easy target for those who make it their focus to cast us in a negative light. Whenever this happens, I find it extremely frustrating and a bit ironic, considering that there is so much terrible conduct on the part of individual companies in other business sectors, and somehow that conduct doesn’t make people perceive their whole industry negatively, and I’m not sure why adult is “special” like that. Plus, as a member of it, I know that the adult industry is full of good people, and I personally believe the adult products we produce fulfill our consumer’s rights to enjoy adult entertainment and do so in a harmless and positive way. Our entertainment fulfills private fantasies and often creates a sensation of intimacy and affection that humans naturally desire.

Opponents of the adult industry often use unproven claims to put our industry down. One recent of example is the XXXChurch and their upcoming “Porn Sunday” events, which probably should have been named “Anti-Porn Sunday.” They go about it somewhat cleverly, and mask it with talk about how “Jesus loves porn stars” and that sort of thing – but make no mistake about it: the goal of their campaign is to associate enjoying adult entertainment as something that is shameful and addictive. Pink Visual has written a tongue-in-cheek response to their campaign to point out the flaws in their logic, but I just wonder if these activists and anti-porn forces will ever learn to put their efforts and focus on real issues and real problems. Compulsive over-consumption of porn might be a problem for some, but I hope we can all agree that our country and society has some higher priority problems facing it….?

Adult entertainment, like all forms of indulgence like alcohol and food, should be enjoyed in moderation. I don’t disagree with the XXXChurch on that, but the fact is most consumers do enjoy our products in moderation, that’s why we don’t see average member logins lasting several hours. What I disagree with is the fact that people just try to “bully” our industry and there are so many other really harmful activities going on and the focus on our industry is distracting people from real causes.

Causes like improving the education system in the United States, which continues to decline, should be the priority, and if we don’t fix things like education, they really will be the cause of great harm to our society. A lack of education leads to lower income, which leads to increased crime, poor healthcare and a variety of other problems that are way, way more serious than spending too much time watching porn.

I could go on about a few other topics that I believe are root causes for our real issues in society, like the constant need to create hatred and divisiveness around others who are different then us, rather than a society that truly appreciates and enjoys our differences… and you know what these other topics would have in common? Not one of these true core issues is influenced one bit by the products created and sold by the adult industry.

So I beg those who really care about our society to move on from trying to cast the adult industry in a negative light, and to spend their efforts on more important things. Maybe in that process they will be able to influence more and more people to naturally avoid behaviors of addiction and over-indulgence and accomplish the result that they long to achieve. It’s worth a shot – because simply making the same invalid claims about porn, over and over again, isn’t getting anybody anywhere.

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